At one time in my life- before I discovered I have absolutely no aptitude for higher math- I considered a career in veterinary medicine. I’d never made it through the algebra and chemistry, but I still have a passing curiosity for things medical and technical. Blood and guts (as well as puke and crap) have never phased me, and I have a very limited sense of smell. Had I just been able to somehow comprehend higher math I’d probably gone on to a veterinary or medical career. Unfortunately my math abilities end at what I would call business math, and I still wonder how I made it through- with “B’s” no less- three quarters of accounting in college. So I ended up in automotive. Still technical, but as long as you aren’t designing them, the necessary math skills seldom go beyond percentages and ratios. Even I in my mathematical weakness can cope with those.
I dropped Sheena off this morning to be spayed- pretty sure that she was neither in heat nor pregnant- and figured she would do quite fine and the process would proceed uneventfully. I didn’t think she would be old enough to have mammary tumors- a condition that claimed my very dear cat Daisy many years ago- so I was a bit shocked when the spay clinic called back and said she had two “small suspicious masses” on her mammary glands. So not only does Sheena have to endure the spay surgery, she’s ending up getting a mastectomy as well. I am still waiting to hear back from them. I wonder if she is doing OK, if she can still come home tonight, and I wonder a lot of other things too. I know that mammary tumors in dogs generally only have a 50/50 chance of being cancerous, and even if they are, if they are removed early, the cancer generally doesn’t spread (as it almost always does in cats) and the dog lives a normal life. This really surprises me because Sheena is not at all body sensitive and I didn’t observe or feel any kind of lumps or bumps on her other than an innocuous, small lipoma on her right leg. So if the tumors were so small that they could only observe them when the skin was pulled back during surgery, I would surmise that mastectomy should eliminate any risk of the tumors spreading. My curiosity is if they are simply going to remove the just the affected gland(s), or if they are going to be a bit more radical and remove both mammary chains. I’ll find out soon enough but I hate waiting and being in suspense.
Of course had poor Sheena been spayed at four or five months of age she wouldn’t have mammary tumors. In some ways I feel like we’re shutting the barn door after the horse has already escaped. I know the value of being sure to spay a non-breeding dog early, but we didn’t get to her early, and some people are just plain ignorant.
I will check Lilo when I get home, and Clara too, even though Clara is not as high risk for mammary tumors because she was spayed earlier and never had pups. That is one disease that scares the hell out of me even though I’ve been assured it’s not as serious a thing for dogs as it is for cats.
Poor Sheena. She is going to be a basket case.
Anyone who is stumbling upon this, listen to me. SPAY your dog. Do it early. Find a way. Most dogs are not suitable for breeding anyway, and you don’t want to deal with heat or puppies – or the risk of mammary tumors and pyometra and all that other stuff. We are trying to do right by Sheena now, because we didn’t have her when she was younger, but for other people with younger dogs and pups- DO IT NOW. Or I will come and torture you.